Introduction: How to Play the Piano and Sing at the Same Time

Playing the piano and singing at the same time is something that really applies to almost anyone who plays the piano...even if you aren't ready to hit the stage with your amazing voice. :)

Sometimes it can be hard to get our voices and our hands together at the same time without something getting off in the process. It's a common issue for those that want to improvise and/or play with others, especially in a band type setting.

Remember how you mastered playing with both hands together? It's Ok if you are still working on that. Truth is, we have to work on that a bit with each new piano piece we play as we learn the notes and everything else.

We're going to learn how to sing with our piano playing much like we did in learning how to put both hands together in our playing.

Let's look at the first tip for getting your voice engaged with your keyboard.

Step 1: Melody First

First, you're going to learn just the melody...the right-hand part of this piece.

We're using "Happy Birthday" as an example because almost everyone knows it and it's easy to sing and play.

Play through the melody line with your right hand just to get the notes set in your fingers.

Next, sing the words while you play the melody line with your right hand. Do this a few times until it feels natural and you're relaxed while doing it.

If you have any trouble singing the words with the piano part, try humming the melody first while playing until you get that and then add in the words afterward.

This is probably the easiest step but one of the most important ones. Remember to do this in the future as well with any new piece that you want to learn to play and sing at the same time.

Now let's look at the next step...if this one involved focusing on just the melody, can you guess what we're going to focus on in the next step? Take a look at the music in the 2nd image to get a clue...and don't just focus on your right hand!

Step 2: Then Chords

If you guessed the left hand and chords, you guessed correctly!

Using the same example of "Happy Birthday"...we will for this whole can see that the left hand is just simple chords and quite easy to play. That's allows you to put more focus on your right hand and your singing.

Play the left hand only here. If you want to make it just a bit easier you can simply play the chord of each measure for the entire measure. So you would just play one note instead of 2 or 3 in each measure. I'll show you how to do this in the video at the end of the lesson.

Now just like you did with the melody line, play through this several times to get very comfortable with your left hand. That's it!

Why don't you go back and do a quick review of your right hand now, before we move on to the next step.

Oh, warm up your voice a little bit too...

Step 3: Put It All Together

This step combines what you've just done in the first 2 steps.

  • You've learned your right-hand melody on the piano and you can sing the words while playing the piano.
  • You then learned the left-hand chords for each measure and can play them just fine.
  • You've done a quick review of step 1 and now...

Now, put it all together.

  • Place both hands on the piano and start at the beginning.
  • Play and sing the whole song all the way through.

Do this several times at least and enjoy it...this is quite an accomplishment!

Slow down if you need to in any area that you stumble in...and go back and repeat anything you need to from the previous steps to help correct the problem. Slowing down is the best solution in most cases.

Now there's one more thing that you're going to do that you may have never done before. Let's see what the most challenging step is next.

Step 4: Let the Right Hand Go

Put your left hand in...Take your right hand out...and sing!

Play the first note in the melody line to give you a starting point and don't hesitate to give yourself a few notes along the way just to make sure that you're singing on key.

Be patient and again, do this as much as you need to until it just comes naturally. You can always go back and play through it a couple of times with your right hand if you need that reinforcement.

It really helps to know the song that you're playing, such as "Happy Birthday", in this case; so when you start learning other pieces to sing with, think about picking ones that you are familiar with just to help make the process easier in the beginning.

In the final step, I give you a chance to play all of these steps with me on your keyboard and you can hear me sing as well. No comments please about my professional singing...

Step 5: Come Practice With Me!

When you first start out learning to put your voice together with your piano playing, remember that you may have to go back to Step 1 and go through each step for your piece for a few times, not just once.

You're not just learning the piece; you're learning how to combine another instrument - your voice - with the one you already play - the piano. This is quite a task!

Apply these steps to each new piece. As time goes by, you may have to go back to just Step 2, or even Step 3 because you're getting so much better.

I go over everything that we've discussed here in this lesson in the video above. You'll see and hear me tackle "Happy Birthday" and you'll see just exactly how each of these steps works in real time at the piano. Now you're singing won't have to be confined to the shower!